TRAVEL CONTENT, CONCEPTS & CONSULTING BY MARK CHESNUT

As you might guess, I'm passionate about travel. I'm also passionate about providing travelers and travel advisors with news and travel tips to help them make informed decisions. And I'm passionate about helping travel industry clients engage with customers and build business.

Scroll down to see my latest reports from various media outlets (my work has appeared in American Way, Fodor's, Forbes Travel Guide, HuffPost, the Miami Herald and Travel Weekly, to name a few). I also do public speaking and work with travel industry clients to create compelling content. Plus, I've got a memoir anthology coming out in 2022! 

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New Name, New Outlook: Why I Rebranded My Travel Blog

It may be an updated logo. A fresh look. Or perhaps a brand-new name and a total corporate makeover. Whatever the specifics, rebranding can be a key strategy for businesses in a variety of situations, whether it’s to maintain relevance in the marketplace, reflect a merger, strengthen a company’s positioning or reposition it for growth and change. In just about any market segment, there is much to be gained from stepping back and taking a look at what a revitalized brand can do. Such is the case with my travel blog. Welcome to the Departure Level!

16 Spectacular Caribbean Settings for Destination Weddings

There are lots of ways to stage a destination wedding. But when it comes to sun-soaked natural settings with beautiful views, it’s hard to beat the Caribbean, with its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and sumptuous hotel venues. Destinations around the Caribbean continue to diversify their wedding offerings to serve a wider audience, whether it’s Indian weddings in Aruba or LGBTQ weddings in Puerto Rico. Larger hoteliers, meanwhile, offer an ever-growing array of possibilities with chain-wide

Top 10 Reasons to Love the Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya Resort (VIDEO)

If you’re looking for a pleasant place for your next beach vacation, you might want to consider one of the freshest names in the Mexican Caribbean: the Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya, an adults-only, all-inclusive hotel that debuted in December 2022. My full hotel review will appear soon in TravelAge West, the leading travel trade publication in the western USA. But for now, I’d like to share the top 10 reasons to love the Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya. You can also get a peek inside the resort in the h

Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen

You know a hotel is cool when it opens a new restaurant and causes a local stir. Such was the case during my recent stay at Thompson Playa del Carmen, which coincided with the opening of UMI Rooftop + Tokyo Kitchen, the property’s stylish new Japanese rooftop restaurant. Quite likely one of the hippest accommodation options in the heart of Playa del Carmen, the hotel offers a winning combination of location, style and attractive features. It’s an ideal option for vacationers who want to be step

The Best LGBTQ Vacation Destinations in Latin America

Latin America’s appeal with LGBTQ travelers remains strong, according to the most recent Gay Travel Awards, which were presented by GayTravel.com last month. The Gay Travel Awards support and promote LGBTQ+ travel and tourism by recognizing destinations, hotels, events, influencers and other organizations that excel at inclusiveness and hospitality excellence. Latin America scored especially well in multiple categories. These are the winners.

I Reached Million Miler Status on American Airlines! A Look Back at a Lifetime of Travel

I fantasized about trumpets at the gate. Confetti flying out of the overhead bins. Teary-eyed pilots offering me a congratulatory handshake. An enthusiastic inflight announcement followed by a marching group of flight attendants prancing through the cabin to deliver a cake with sparklers right to my tray table, which would be larger than average because I’d have been already upgraded to the most fabulous first-class cabin you’ve ever seen. Upon arrival at our destination, there would be water ca

AIRLINE REVIEW: What It’s Like to Fly Volaris in Mexico (VIDEO)

If you’re looking for cheap flights in Mexico, you’ll find several options when it comes to low-fare airlines. But every airline in Mexico offers a different kind of experience, so it’s a good idea to know what to expect before your book your ticket. During my most recent Mexico trip, I flew from Cancun to Guadalajara aboard Volaris, which is by some measures the largest airline in Mexico and also the nation’s top low-cost carrier. This is a review of my experience — and you can see a travel vi

‎Coming Out Stories: Mark: "I was so nervous, I had to leave the room, and came out from the kitchen!"

Interview with Mark Chesnut: "Because I only heard the term in the playground, I used to think "gay" meant someone who was bad at sports." Mark Chesnut is an award-winning travel writer based in New York City. He is also the author of the memoir "Prepare for Departure: Notes on a Single Mother, a Misfit Son, Inevitable Mortality and the Enduring Allure of Frequent Flyer Miles."

Like David Sedaris & Michelle Zauner? You'll Love This New Book

If you like David Sedaris, Michelle Zauner, Samantha Irby or Jenny Lawson, you won't be disappointed by this new book from award-winning travel writer Mark Chesnut: "Prepare for Departure: Notes on a Single Mother, a Misfit Son, Inevitable Mortality and the Enduring Allure of Frequent Flyer Miles." "Prepare for Departure" is a new memoir about a mother and son facing the final month's of the mother's life while they revisit their lives together. It's a coming-of-age story, a coming-out story and an end-of-life story, all wrapped into one. "Prepare for Departure" has been called both hilarious and heartbreaking. If you're looking for a heartfelt story about family relations and finding your own place in the world, this just might be your next great read. The book is published by @vineleavespress and can be purchased from all major online booksellers, including here: https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Departure-inevitable-mortality-enduring/dp/1925965988/ #newauthors #newbookalert #memoir #memoirs #travelwriter #authorlife #brockport #rochesterny #authorinterviews #booklover #booktour #bookmarketing #bookpromotion #bookpromo #books #newbook #newbooks #newauthor #booklaunch #booklaunching #debutauthor #bookreading #bookreadings #authortube #gaybooks #lgbtqbooks #memoirs #goodbooks #bookevent #booktrailer #booktrailers #bookreview #bookreviews

AIRLINE REVIEW: Is JetBlue’s “Even More Space” Seating Worth It?

Let’s be real: airplane seats can be pretty uncomfortable. There are some remedies, of course, since nearly every airline offers some kind of upgraded airline seating option, whether it’s premium economy, business class, first class or some creatively named variation on those concepts. But is it really worth upgrading? During a recent Cancun flight, I tried out a premium economy service aboard JetBlue, with an upgrade to the Even More Space category. And I was very pleasantly surprised by the ex

The Top Hotels in Mexico for a Romantic Getaway

As Valentine’s Day approaches, some couples are dreaming about the perfect romantic getaway. But heartfelt vacations don’t have to be limited to a stay on Feb. 14 in Mexico, where a variety of well-appointed resort hotels in beautiful settings set the stage for romance throughout the year. These hotels around Mexico offer some of the region’s most memorable options for nurturing (or rekindling) a romantic spark, regardless of the time of year. The state of Baja California offers many opportuni

How To Reach Million Miler Status With Your Airline

Flying one million miles may seem like a lofty goal, but with a bit of dedication and patience, it’s possible—and the payoff is more than just bragging rights; you can enjoy better treatment when you fly. But is it worth the effort? The benefits of million miler status vary by airline, but in general, travelers can usually expect elite frequent flyer status for the lifetime of the carrier’s program, which brings a variety of perks like priority boarding, free access to better seats in economy c

The Top 5 Travel Blog Posts & Travel Videos of the Year on LatinFlyer

You can learn a lot about what people like by reviewing what they read and what they look at online. And that’s especially true when it comes to travel, since traveling is by nature a very visual experience. That makes reviewing the top posts and social media content of the year an interesting experience. In 2022, a lot of people got back into the swing of travel again. As pandemic-era quarantines and restrictions faded away and more people got vaccinated, it became easier to get on the road an

Fabulous Los Cabos Tourism Holiday Party Brings Travel Industry to Beverly Hills

Los Cabos is a destination that knows how to make people happy and provide memorable Mexico vacation experiences. So it's no surprise that the @loscabostourism Board hosted a fabulous holiday part this year. The 4th Annual Los Cabos Tourism Board Holiday in LA party, sponsored by Fiprotur Los Cabos, was a special night to celebrate travel partners, to hear the stories of travel industry friends, to be motivated by a beautiful motivational speech by writer/author Mark Chesnut and to enjoy the festive season. Attendees were joined by many special guests, including Consul for Tourism Tourism Affairs Jazmin Galvan and Consul for Economic Affairs Beth Hernandez from the Mexican Consulate of Los Angeles, as well as members of the media, top travel writers, Mexico hotel and supplier partners and the amazing travel advisor community. Each guest was treated to a signed copy of Mark's new book, "Prepare for Departure: Notes on a Single Mother, a Misfit Son, Inevitable Mortality and the Enduring Allure of Frequent Flyer Miles." • Watch Mark Chesnut's full motivational speech about how to reconnect with your inner kid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mm0CIQHd6U • Learn more about what makes Los Cabos a great Mexico vacation destination: @loscabostourism & https://www.visitloscabos.travel • See more about "Prepare for Departure" and get your own copy: https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Departure-inevitable-mortality-enduring/dp/1925965988/ • Follow Mark Chesnut on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mundera/

Review: Banyan Tree Mayakoba

What first struck me about Banyan Tree Mayakoba was the tree. Not just any tree, mind you, but a giant, soaring natural centerpiece — the namesake of the Banyan Tree brand — towering over a body of water at the center of the hotel’s main lobby building. With lights weaving among multiple branches, it was a truly eye-catching symbol of how this decidedly upscale resort blends natural beauty with Asian style, complemented by generous amounts of Mexican hospitality. After a quick, comfortable flig

How Your Inner Kid Can Make You Happy — Even When You Travel!

Have you had it with the hassles of travel? Sick of problems at work? Well, maybe there’s a way to minimize all that stress. Complaining about work and travel may be a national pastime, but I have a suggestion for staying positive about travel and life in general: listen to your inner kid. I shared this message recently during a heartfelt presentation at the 4th Annual Los Cabos Holiday Party, which took place on December 15 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel. In this season when many
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